Big Screen Symposium

  • 2016 Speakers and Delegates

    "The Big Screen Symposium blew me away. The incredible earnestness, intelligence, and high-spirits I encountered among these committed lovers of film from around the world was truly an inspiration.” Jonathan Raymond, US Screenwriter (WENDY AND LUCY, MILDRED PIERCE)
  • "Big Screen is a breath of fresh air. Literally traveling halfway across the world to attend, I met some of the most interesting, and interested, filmmakers. The Big Screen symposium created a vibrant program—around the idea of risk—which explored the difficulties and exhilaration around building the unknown. I highly recommend you check it out!"  Opeyemi Olukemi, Tribeca Film Institute.
  • "What an amazing event. There is such a good ethos, it's palpable. Fantastic speakers all round." Emily Perkins, NZ author & screenwriter (THE REHEARSAL)
  • "I found the BSS incredibly exciting and useful. Why? Because I was able to listen to world-class filmmakers and thinkers such as Heather Rae, Cate Shortland and Christopher Doyle who really left me thinking about the industry that we work in and how we each have the power to shift it and make it work for us. It was great to have it in Auckland and feel the vibration of potential, vision and diversity in the sessions."  Louise Tu'u, NZ Writer/Director
  • 2015 Speakers

    "The Big Screen Symposium encapsulates the passionate and creative spirit of the New Zealand film industry, and it was my absolute pleasure to participate." - Jon Landau, US producer (Titanic, Avatar)
  • "Warm, friendly, inspiring, international and local. Thanks heaps Big Screen Symposium!" - Florian Habicht, filmmaker
  • "Congratulations to the team for yet another successful Symposium. As always, it was a wonderful event that benefits the whole film community from least experienced to most. I look forward to next years event and indeed the one after." - Matthew Metcalfe, producer
  • "I loved hearing more about the NZ industry and meeting some of the very talented filmmakers as well. I was also impressed at the wide interest groups involved with the Symposium - it was really refreshing to attend a conference that is not solely producer-orientated." - Liz Watts, AUS producer (ANIMAL KINGDOM, LORE)
  • "The Symposium was success all round, due in large part to you and your team." - Anthony McCarten, writer (The Theory of Everything)
  • "Congrats to the team for another brilliant, brilliant weekend. So smooth, so relaxed, so lovely and SO inspiring." - Robyn Malcolm, actor.
  • "I just wanted to thank you both for making everything so easy for Jake [Mahaffy] and I! The conference was really well run, I will make sure to add it to my calendar for next year." - Georgina Allison Conder, producer (Free in Deed)
  • "Thank you Esther and team for an amazing Symposium. You are all fabulous and always look after us." - Briar Grace-Smith, writer (The Strength of Water)
  • "Tautoko and big ups to you Esther and your fabulous team. It was inspiring to watch you helm such a well-oiled machine. It was especially great to be on a panel of cool gals who are focused on telling stories and sharing them with the world not for fame and fortune but to spread some love and understanding in the world." - Libby Hakaraia, producer/director and creator of Maoriland Film Festival
  • 2015 Delegates

    "The Big Screen Symposium is a cornucopia of ideas and inspiration, nourishing the industry and connecting filmmakers." - Armagan Ballantyne, director (The Strength of Water)
  • "The BSS is a great chance to see people I often haven't crossed paths with since the previous one... and the one before that. It's also a great informal setting to have more focused encounters with specific people, whether engineered or by chance." - Jeremy Macey, producer
  • "The Symposium creates an atmosphere where all speakers give fully on their subject. There were no egos, and really useful information was exchanged. I'm not aware of any other event that delivers anything like this. Well done! Take a bow!" - Jude Mannion, consultant.
  • "Congratulations on a great event. Everyone I spoke to was equally wrapped with the presentations and the event as I was. Thanks for such a great opportunity to connect." - Bruce Hopkins, actor.
  • "I just wanted to congratulate you all for putting on such a great BSS. It was really inspiring and the speakers were such a strong bunch and I know what hard work you all put in. So thank you!" - Michelle Savill, writer/director (Ellen is Leaving)
  • 2014 SPEAKERS

    “It was a wonderful experience for me in every possible way. I was touched by the warmth in which I was received across the board and it was an honour to be there.” - US producer Alix Madigan (Winter’s Bone)

  • “For me, the BSS is about inspiration... Both times I’ve attended the BSS, I’ve been gifted with lasting pearls of wisdom to take back to the office/garage/bedroom! I will be back in 2015." - Producer Tom Hern (The Dark Horse)

  • “The BSS is a highlight of the film industry year. A fantastic and contem- porary program filled with inspiring international and local guest speakers.” - Director Charlotte Purdy

  • “Thank you so much for what was a life-changing weekend. The Big screen Symposium always connects me with new collaborators. Such incredible programming and a wonderful conver- sation with the industry. I feel full-up on inspiration.” - Writer Sophie Henderson

  • “Thank you for organising such a wonderful event that benefits the entire screen community.” - Producer Matthew Metcalfe

  • “I was struck by the positive energy of both the speakers and the participants. It reminded me of one of the core rea- sons why we make films - to share (and experience) a unique point of view.’ - Australian director Jennifer Kent

  • “A big thank you for inviting me to contribute to what was in total a very inspiring, informative and articulate series of conversations and events over the weekend. A fantastic program.” – Al Cossar, Programmer, MIFF

  • “No wonder anyone who’s anyone in NZ film and TV was there. BSS 2014 was impeccably organised, the ses- sions were terrific and there were plenty of opportunities to meet new people. So glad to have been part of it.’ - Screen-writer Katherine Thomson (AUS)

  • “Participating in the Big Screen Sym- posium was a huge thrill for me - the creativity and generosity in the air was palpable. The event is testament to the collegiality of New Zealand’s filmmaking communities.” - Film critic and writer Dominic Corry
  • 2013 SPEAKERS

    "What I found most satisfying about speaking at the Big Screen Symposium is the degree to which I was infected by the enthusiasm of the participants, the audiences and other speakers alike. I went back to my own projects refreshed and energised, and with new perspectives and renewed passion." Rolf de Heer, Writer/Director, AUS

  • “The Big Screen Symposium is a forum where people from different facets and areas of the business can actually intermingle, talk and swap ideas – it is a really valuable thing.” - David Wenham, Actor (300, Lord of the Rings, Top of the Lake), AUS

  • 2013 SPONSORS

    “The discussion and panels were topical, interesting and stimulating. I thank you for the enormous amount of work which I know went in to making this happen.” - Graeme Mason, CEO, NZ Film Commission

  • 2013 ATTENDEES

    “It is really important for the people who make up the film and television industries in NZ to get together and talk, network, and to communicate with each other.” - Oliver Driver, MC/Actor/Director/Presenter, NZ

  • “Being here and being at the forefront and knowing what is happening in our industry - it is absolutely critical!” - Jeanie Pou, Agent, Karen Kay Management, NZ

  • “The Big Screen Symposium was a success. Why? Because it was big enough to hold all of us in the palm of its hand.” - Ande Schurr, “Big Screen Buzz”, The Big Idea (2013)

  • 2012 SPEAKERS

    "There was a real generosity of spirit about the occasion that made it very different from others that I have attended." Keith Thompson, Script Editor, AUS
  • "Many thanks for an inspiring Symposium and a lovely time in Auckland. It was a great mix of speakers and I hope everyone felt as I did, that it was very inclusive of all types of films and filmmakers.Gillian Armstrong, Director, AUS
  • "I certainly felt it was the best conference of its type that I have been a part of over the past 30 years in the business." Tim White, Producer, AUS/NZ
  • "Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful event and hopefully the first of many like that. Congratulations. You and your team are awesome." Oscar Kightley, Writer/Actor (Facilitator)

  • "Inspiring, generous spirited and perfectly conceived and organised. Congratulations on by far the best event of this type I've ever been to." Rob Sarkies, Director, NZ
  • 2012 SPONSORS

    "Well done for a really wonderful and inspirational weekend. You pulled together a great programme and the general vibe on the floor was overwhelmingly positive and energised.  It was fantastic to see the community come together and support the event but also be entertained, inspired and in many cases excited!  This can only bode well for next year! Many thanks and bask in the warmth of a very successful industry event." Vicki Jackways, Head of Marketing Park Road Post Production Ltd

  • "Just wanted to say a BIG CONGRATULATIONS to the whole team on the delivery of the BSS. I have heard a lot of positive feedback from the event." Zelda Edwards, Professional Development Executive, NZFC

  • "It was our pleasure to be involved in the inaugural BSS." Dr. Shuchi Kothari,  Screenwriter and Director Screen Production Programme, Department of Film, Television, and Media Studies, University of Auckland


    "AWESOME WEEKEND!  We are totally inspired and stoked to have been part of it, thank you so much. Thanks again to you and your team - a really brilliant weekend that is going to be talked about right up until the next one!" Angela da Silva, Quick Crew

  • "Congratulations – the symposium was a huge success!!! I hope that you are starting to recover" Anne-Maree Godfrey, TropFest


    "Just wanted to say I thought you pulled off a sterling job with the BSS. The atmosphere was great and there were lots of fresh young faces around.  Have only heard positive feedback from those I knew there, remarkable! It really set itself in stone as an annual event." Ant Timpson, Director, 48-Hour Film Festival/Producer
  • "WOW! Ka nui te mihi ki a koutou e hapai ana I te ao papaho! What a weekend!!! Congratulations to all of you for the Big Screen Symposium. I hope you are all proud of what you’ve achieved. I know I had a great time and everyone that I spoke to was not only impressed but inspired by the high standard of speakers and content. I look forward to the next one!" Waimihi Hotere, Ngā Aho Whakaari - Māori in Screen Production

  • "Thanks for a great event - universally enjoyed by all.  Hopefully you're contemplating another one next year." Bruce Hopkins, Actors' Equity

  • "Congratulations on an awesome weekend, brilliant work! Had lots of people tell me how buzzed and inspired they were by the symposium. The tone was just right, excellent sessions, great numbers. Well done." Steven Gannaway, Executive Director, New Zealand Writers' Guild
  • "Thank you again for the opportunity to participate in the Big Screen Symposium. I really enjoyed the whole two days and it was certainly more interesting than numerous other conferences I have been to in recent years.  Well organised too." Geoff Lealand, Associate Professor Screen & Media Studies University of Waikato

  • "I have overheard A LOT of people asking each other the question... how was the weekend? how did you enjoy the symposium? Every answer has been - 'awesome' or 'fantastic' or 'really useful and amazing'. You guys did it! You pulled off a great event! Well done to you all. I am very grateful to you for all the energy poured into such a venture, because it has benefited me enormously both personally and professionally and was an amazing learning and networking opportunity to boot. :)" Tanya Wheeler, Screenwriter

  • "I had such a great time at the symposium. I think it was a great success too and I thoroughly enjoyed all the talks I went to... hats off to you and your team for all the work you guys did. I can't wait for next years' one already!" Michelle Savill, Writer/Director

  • "Very much enjoyed being a part of it. Thanks for including me. And big ups to the whole team. Certainly the best industry conference I’ve been to in NZ. Energy was good, content was valuable, price was right and everyone came away buzzing. Well done!" Tui Ruwhiu, Producer